What is psych nursing really like??? - page 2

by ifhn10 14,804 Views | 41 Comments

I've been an RN for 3 years and have worked med/surg-tele, ICU, and ER. I'm now thinking of making a move to psych because I can honestly say that I hate traditional bedside nursing. 1) I am sick of constantly having to... Read More


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    I work in a juvenile residential treatment facility for youth with drug and alcohol addictions and pysch issues. I felt I had found my calling when I was working on my psych rotation during nursing school. I never wanted to be a hospital floor nurse. There are days I wish I had the medical background of a hospital floor nurse. But for the most part our kids are healthy.

    I pass a lot of meds. Do blood draws and take care of patients with diabetes. I do intake assessments. I patch up kids after they have gotten into fights, and I take care of their injuries from the gym. Sometimes we have kids who return from surgery. I don’t get to practice many “nursing skills” but I have yet to have to clean up any bodily fluids. I am learning the art of therapeutic communication though. I do hand out a fair share of bandaids, crackers and water.

    Most days I love my job. I truly enjoy working with the kids and seeing them progress in our program. Then there are days when someone is DTO/DTS and life on the unit becomes pretty stressful. Sometimes they will just go up and down the halls kicking and punching walls, yelling and knocking over trash cans. When we cannot get them to de-escalate we have to put the kids into a CPI hold. Sometimes this activity sets off other kids on the unit. When we have to put a kid into a CPI hold it is hard on everyone. They kick, scream, cry, yell, spit and try to bite the staff. While injuries to staff are not that common, they do sometimes happen.

    I love the moments when I feel like I might have made a difference, even a small one. I have comforted kids who were missing their parents because CPS took them out of the home. I have given compliments to many girls who have never had positive reinforcement from anyone. One girl told me that no-one had ever said anything good about her and her face lit up when I complemented her. A big part of my job is role modeling appropriate behavior.

    I am new to psych nursing but I hope this gives you a picture of what I deal with on a daily basis. Most of our kids have been kicked around, beaten down, homeless and neglected. They just need someone who cares enough to help them through the hard times. I try to make each one of them feel valuable.
    lunar79, elprup, and pinkiepieRN like this.
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    Thanks again guys. I actually shadowed someone in the psych unit a couple of days ago and I quickly realized that psych is definitely not for me. I left within two hours of arriving. The place feels like a prison and the patients are beyond annoying, disgusting, and absolutely coo-coo for coco puffs (duh). Not my cup of tea.
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    Quote from ifhn10

    1) I am sick of constantly having to clean up feces, urine, emesis, and other ungodly bodily fluids. That I know of, psych patients perform their own ADL's.

    2) I'm tired of having to deal with obnoxious patients and family members that think you are their personal servant/slave.

    3) I'm completely over doing all the disgusting medical nursing tasks like cleaning pressure ulcers, changing dressings, inserting foleys and rectal tubes, etc.

    I am assuming these things won't be an issue is the psych unit, but you know what they say when you assume.

    Well what exactly were you expecting when you became nurse? People who are perfectly healthy have no need of medical attention usually. Why don't you go into nursing management You can sit in an office and stare at a computer. At least in an ICU people don't mean to soil themselves, they can't help it. In a psych ward you're liable to have urine, semen and feces thrown at you because they're mentally unstable. You might have patients who refuse to bathe or are self violent, or violent to others cause bodily damage resulting in blood loss. This isn't to chastise you but you ought to consider your chosen career path. Maybe something like school nursing would be your calling, hand out band aids and do sports physicals and such. Or work in public health, people come to you for what they need and then go away.
    SC-RN and KelRN215 like this.
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    You sure have a narrow view of what is NOT bedside nursing, your list is so short!

    Informatics
    Research
    Case management
    Doctors office
    Ambulatory/clinic
    Home health
    Workers comp
    Telehealth
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    Quote from ifhn10
    Thanks again guys. I actually shadowed someone in the psych unit a couple of days ago and I quickly realized that psych is definitely not for me. I left within two hours of arriving. The place feels like a prison and the patients are beyond annoying, disgusting, and absolutely coo-coo for coco puffs (duh). Not my cup of tea.
    Maybe I'm biased here, but seriously, maybe try a dialysis clinic! I never once cleaned up bodily fluids other then blood, and occasionally someone threw up, but they usually offered to help clean it up. These people are mostly ambulatory. It can be a fun environment. Again though, some walk in and absolutely hate it. Are you sure you aren't just burnt out on patients in general? All patients are going to ask you to fetch them some ice water or scratch their back sometimes.. You're a nurse! Maybe you would be better behind the scenes for a while. Education, administration, what about surgery? You probably don't have to interact with patients to often there. I hope you find something!
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    As others said, what did you expect when you went onto the psych unit? Calling those pts disgusting and annoying is pretty brutal. Standard nurse to pt contact clearly isn't one of your strengths if you can't be empathetic to the suffering these people go through. Go into education or find a desk job if you have no compassion for the sick, be it physical or mental illness.
    designer-mommy, lunar79, annietart, and 10 others like this.
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    Quote from Nurse.Steph.
    As others said, what did you expect when you went onto the psych unit? Calling those pts disgusting and annoying is pretty brutal. Standard nurse to pt contact clearly isn't one of your strengths if you can't be empathetic to the suffering these people go through.

    Agreed Nurse.Steph. These were some pretty brutal statements. A psych pt has a very hard life to cope with and are deserving of respect.
    designer-mommy, lunar79, elprup, and 5 others like this.
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    yikes,

    i typically can't stand people on here calling out others for going into nursing for a particular reason (e.g. "Shame on you for becoming a nurse for any reason other that it's your one true passion).

    I think it's perfectly fine to enter the field for more practical reasons (e.g. money, time, job security)...

    ...but, based off of your last comment, please leave any and all direct-care nursing. Do it, now. You have zero compassion. Really, you'd probably get along much better with computers.
    designer-mommy likes this.
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    Zero. I hate them all. Lol.

    To answer everyone's question, nursing was a quick 3 semester answer to this horrible economy. It's a temporary career detour if you will.

    Now I'm really gonna get it from all the randy nurses... lol
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    So if you are burned on patient contact, how about some back office paper-pushing utilization/review type job? You need the RN license to do it, but you don't deal with needy pts, just insurance company reps. Or get certified in medical coding. One of our medical records people was waxing poetic about doing that when I got injured and was stuck in her office on "light duty". The money is about the same. She was so enthusiastic about it that I didn't tell her I would rather clean all the bathrooms in Grand Central Station with my tongue. I think your three semester solution has other possibilities and you should keep looking until you find one that fits you.
    Last edit by GeneralJinjur on Mar 15, '13 : Reason: Chrome is not recognizing paragraph breaks


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